When your university’s inbound marketing strategy fails to produce higher enrollment rates or donor contributions, you might need to make a few adjustments. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to tweak your marketing approach to create more favorable results. Use these strategies to improve your school’s reach and to boost conversion rates.
Find Ways to Implement Reciprocity
Think of reciprocity as an investment in your school. According to digital marketing executive Zara Burke, consumers (including students and donors) are attracted to businesses (including schools) that give of their time and energy. If you provide something for free, others will reciprocate by engaging with your school’s brand. This could mean enrollment, donations, or spreading the word to others.
There are several ways to use reciprocity in higher education marketing. For instance, you could create valuable content and give it away so that your viewers feel better informed. Alternatively, you might use your content marketing to advertise free seminars or webinars for prospective students. When you give away your time or knowledge, others will feel impelled to reciprocate.
Start Testing Your Content
A/B testing can prove extremely valuable for schools that experience poor inbound marketing performance. Essentially, this means creating two versions of the same content and testing views and conversions. Writing for Adobe, Russell Lewis reports that many people follow accepted wisdom for decisions like email marketing and blogging frequency, then discover through testing that they were off-base for their specific audience.
Diverting traffic to two different types of content will help you refine your approach and improve your strategy. The more you know about your prospective students and donors, the more likely you become to appeal to them specifically.
Update Your Website
Today’s students are web-savvy, intelligent, and discerning. They won’t waste time with a university that has an outdated website or poor online visibility. They’d rather connect with institutions that take advantage of the Internet’s culture and resources.
If you haven’t updated your web presence recently, consider making this step a priority for your higher education marketing campaign. Redesign your website based on today’s principles and create social media accounts to connect with prospects via different channels. That way, you’ll be ready when prospects engage with you online.
Leverage Existing Students
Relationship marketing is a key buzzword for 2016 — and for good reason. Consumers, including prospective students, trust their peers more than they trust marketing gurus. They want to connect based on honest, genuine feedback. For this to work, it’s essential to allow your existing students to speak for you.
Consider creating a student category on your blog. Once a week (or at a frequency of your choice), you’ll post an interview with one of your existing students. Ask them what they love about your school, what they’ve accomplished in class, and what their goals are for the future. This type of marketing appeals to prospective students who want to know what their peers think.
Higher education marketing is a complex process, but it pays to explore new ways to reach your prospects. Contact us to find out how we can help you build a stronger inbound marketing strategy for your university.